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How to Sand a Lightly Scratched Hardwood Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now, Libby from Missouri is on the line and has some issues with a hardwood floor. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    LIBBY: I really think my hardwood floors need to be redone. They’re very faded where there’s traffic and a lot of gap.

    TOM: OK.

    LIBBY: And that house is about 60 years old. It’s very noisy. Lots of just wear and scratches. And I’m trying to decide whether I should just, you know, not try to redo them and – or maybe there’s something that I can do to them to make them look better without totally refinishing them. I don’t know. You have any suggestions?

    TOM: Well, sure, Libby. Let me ask you about the condition of the floors. You said that they’re scratched but are the scratches just in the finish or are they sort of deep scratches in the wood boards themselves?

    LIBBY: No, they’re not deep scratches. Just from like – just everyday wear, mostly. They’re in really good shape. One room that’s not used very much is in I mean excellent – it looks almost brand new. But the other, there’s – it’s just normal, everyday kind of wear.

    TOM: Alright. So here’s what you can do, Libby. You don’t have to belt-sand the floors, which is the way – when you totally refinish them, you take all the old finish off and you grind down an 1/8-inch of material. You don’t have to do that. What you can do is you could just lightly sand the upper surface of the finish and then put another layer or two of urethane over that.

    The best way to do that is with a floor buffer and a sanding screen. Now, you can go to a tool-rental place and you can rent a floor buffer and then you can purchase sanding screens, which are these screens that are about 18 inches in diameter. Looks kind of like window-screen material but it’s abrasive.

    And there’s two sides to it, so you can use one side, flip it over, then use the other side. And you position it underneath the floor buffer and as you use the buffer in the room, it lightly abrades the surface of the old floor. That takes out the dirt and the grime. It takes off some of the old – any old wax, that kind of stuff. And it’ll start to take out the scratches and that kind of evens it out and cleans it up. Then you vacuum it or damp-mop all that dust up. And then you can apply two layers of urethane.

    Now, I’ll give you a trick of the trade. The first layer should be a high gloss, because the glossy urethane is harder than satin. So put the first layer of high gloss and maybe even a second layer of high gloss but your last layer could be satin. And that will give you a nice, even, soft finish and still be as hard as possible.

    LIBBY: Oh, OK. I will see if I can get someone to help me with that.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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